Faheem Mir meets a Rehbar-e-Taleem teacher who donates her modest earnings to the poor students in her class. Her colleagues say she is maintaining a family tradition
On April 30, 2019, some pictures of a female school teacher started circulating on social media. The teacher had donated her salary to help the needy students.
Syed Firdousa Rabbani, 29, daughter of Syed Ghulam Rabbani and Fareeda Begum, is a resident of Hakanabad Panzwa in Kupwara’s Vilgam belt. Villagers see her as gracious, concerned and helpful.
A Rehbar-e-Taleem teacher, Firdousa is teaching in Government Girls Middle School, Panzwa. She is paid Rs 3000, a month. She was schooled locally and later joined Government Higher secondary Vilgam and finally completed her graduation from Kupwara. She did her Masters in Urdu and BEd from the University of Kashmir in 2009.
Daughter of a policeman, Firdousa has one of her brothers also teaching in a school; two of their brothers are still students.
Before Rabbani, joined the services, the family would face financial issues.
In 2010, Firdousa started teaching in a private school in Srinagar and then moved to two other schools. This developed her interest in teaching. Finally, she returned home in 2017, when she was appointed a ReT teacher.
Since then, Firdousa said, she is donating her earning because her father has encouraged her to do so.
The family has an income of almost a lakh rupees a month. But they live in a modest single storey house. Interestingly all the members are similar when it comes to donations.
“We like to donate everything that we have, “Firdousa’s brother Syed Murtaza Rabbani said.
Her brothers in Srinagar purchases items in the city and then these are distributed. “Abbuji helped me to buy all the items on feasible prices and the rest of the job was done by my brothers,” Firdousa said. “Abbuji even offered me his salary to support the education of poor students”.
Her father is also posted in Srinagar. Mohammad Akram Qureshi, a resident teacher, said the Rabbani himself donates and is a frequent blood donor.
On April 30, the school management decided to distribute school bags, uniforms, shoes, socks, scarves, ties, notebooks, pens and other items worth thousands of rupees among 82 poor students. She distributed these items in presence of ZEO Vilgam.
“She didn’t want to disclose this but fellow teachers decided to appreciate her work by inviting ZEO,” Akram said.
“It feels very bad when you see young girls belonging to poor families wearing torn uniforms and sweaters,” Firdousa said when asked about her motivation for doing all this.
Though the government is also providing uniform allowances for the students at Rs 400 per head, it is inadequate. It is at this level that she is intervening by contributing her own savings to help the students wear better uniforms. Interestingly, Firdousa is not willing to identify the students she has helped. She even refused a video interview. “I don’t want to advertise it and I don’t need any publicity, I think it is my duty,” she said.
When asked how she managed to buy all these items from her small saving, she said she had been saving for the last many years to fund the exercise.
The lady teacher wishes to make her school a model government school. “Why should private school students have all the fun?” she asked. “We have highly qualified teachers as compared to private schools; we should give our best to develop our schools.”